Serena Williams had her service broken in the opening game before coming back to beat Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa 6-2, 6-3 on Monday at the Brisbane International, her first match since losing the US Open final in September.
Williams needed 68 minutes to advance, firing seven aces and taking advantage of eight double-faults by Scheepers.
In other matches, former No. 1-ranked Ana Ivanovic beat Tamira Paszek of Austria 6-3, 6-3 and American Vania King beat Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-3, 6-4.
Sam Stosur, who beat Williams for the US Open title last September, plays her opening match at Pat Rafter Arena on Monday night.
Top-seeded Andy Murray plays his opening men's match on Tuesday.